Penelope’s Talkin’ Blues
For Odysseus

I first saw you Odyss
Comin’ out of the boxcar’s side
Holding onto Adam’s rib
It can not be denied
I testify
You know that Adams rib I’m talking ‘bout     Odyss
The one with the sweet female juice deep down
In the deep down deep down inside
So you ‘d never no more in these sorrowful days
Say you’d never no more be denied
But you Odyss you tossed that Adam’s rib aside
Yeah you tossed it aside
Like a nasty ol’ dog bone
Said you couldn’t use it on yr ride
Yeah you said you could not use it
On yr personal ride
I testify
You think I don’t remember that day
When you looked at me yr wine-dark bride
And said babe babe babe
Babe I gotta ride
You think I don’t remember that day
You think you can play me play me play me for a fool
Well I can tell you Odyss
You learned more about love from me
Than you ever learned from any mothalovin’ travellin’ school
You think I don’t remember that day
When you looked at me yr lover babe
Yr sweet bright lucky penny
Yr wine dark bride   and said
Babe I gotta ride
I gotta avenge my daddy’s name
And get me some freedom and some fame
Daddy daddy daddy
that’s the only name you you cried
When you looked at me and said babe
Babe Babe Babe I gotta ride
And that’s exactly what you did Odyss
That’s exactly what you did
I testify
And don’t think I didn’t hear
‘Bout all them exploits and adventures
Don’t think I didn’t hear ‘bout that hussy Circe
When I heard about her I cried for mercy
And don’t think I didn’t hear ‘bout that
One-eyed cyclops freak
When I heard about him my knees went weak.
And Odyss our home yeah our happy home
Now it’s a honky tonk a jukey joint a funky ol’ saloon
With all those raggedy ass courtin’ cats
Crawlin up and down our stairs
And me in my sorrow…
I say in my sorrow and despair
Weavin’ and unweavin’that weavin’wool
By day weavin’ …makin them young men believe
That soon I would be finished so I could    marry one of them
And at night I would unravel
So that woven cloth never would be finished
And Odyss
While you were over there in Troy raisin’ up a ruckus
I was back here in Ithac raisin’ up our boy… Telamachus
And those suitors… well don’t think
I didn’t turn around once or twice
(‘Cause some of them young boys
were kinda nice).
But keep in min I am Penelope
Wife of Oydsseus
Not calamity calliope apostrophe
Eternity infinity or poetry
  Say I am
Penelope wife of Odysseus
And I’ve been waiting for twenty long years
For my man to come home from his personal ride
So he can join me his wife Penelope
And remain for the rest of time
Right by my side
I testify
And sometimes I think to myself
Yessirree I think to myself
No matter where he wanders
No matter where he rides
That man Odysseus
Is never satisfied
And he won’t be either
Till he hightails it cross country
On an updraft
And takes his righteous place
Right by my side
I testify
The name’s Penelope
Wife of Oddyseus
I testify


Elizabeth Gordon McKim has published five books of original poetry, and is included in many anthologies and reviews and journals. Her latest collection is Red Thread from Leapfrog Press. She is the Poetry Editor of POIESIS (Toronto) and is included in The Wild Women of Lynn, the debut book from Blaine Hebbel’s Ring of Bone Press.